Twenty-three finalists go for top honors in Walker's Rising Stars competition

Published April 29 2015
Updated April 29 2015

Twenty-three Pinellas County high school students have been announced as finalists in six categories for the 2015 Walker's Rising Star Scholarship Competition. They will vie for more than $60,000 in scholarships and prizes Tuesday at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

First, second, third and fourth place in the Dance, Instrumental Music, Stage Performance/Theater, Visual Arts and Vocal Music categories will receive scholarships of $5,000, $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. The Culinary Arts Category scholarships are provided by the Ryan Wells Foundation and first, second and third place will receive $1,500, $1,000 and $500 respectively. More than 200 juniors and seniors from public schools applied to compete in the seven-month process of auditions and adjudication. The competition is sponsored by Kane's Furniture and Crown Automotive Group.

Here are the finalists in each category.

Culinary: Jasmyn Kiest, Northeast High; Ryan Cleary, Tarpon Springs High; and Paige Smith, Dixie Hollins High.

Dance: Karolyn Stine, Countryside High; Maya Silverberg, St. Petersburg High; Nina Futch, Osceola Fundamental High; and Teagan Reed, Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High.

Instrumental Music: Alyssa Jouret, St. Petersburg High; Jared Duncan, Palm Harbor University High; Kira Touchton, Tarpon Springs High; and Sarah Hall, Seminole High.

Theater: Alianna Perez, Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High; Ana Bernot-Reilly, Dunedin High; Blake Lafita, Palm Harbor University High; and Gwendolyn Ludwig, St. Petersburg High.

Visual Arts: Ayden Stoefen, Largo High; Kelly Dottery, East Lake High; Krismel Ubasa, Boca Ciega High; and Zoe Cappello, Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High.

Vocal Music: Anissa Perona, Dunedin High; Grayson Samuels, Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High; Lauren Housley, East Lake High; and Simone Sirota-Plotnikov, Largo High.

To purchase tickets, visit the Pinellas Education Foundation website,, and click on the Walker's Rising Stars logo. The website also contains more information on each of the artists.